Tag Archives: blogging

…Martin Roy Hill’s insightful piece on what a writer reads to help him write…

…my pal, Author Martin Roy Hill has an engaging post on his blog http://www.martinroyhill.com/martin-s-writers-blog about material that writers are well advised to have around when crafting their own masterpieces… he also graciously mentions my own wee SELF-PUBLISHING GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL SALES… thanks, that man… here’s the post:

What’s on Your Writer’s Bookshelf?

If you live in the U.S., you’re probably familiar with that series of credit card commercials that always end, “What’s in your wallet?” I was thinking about that the other day as I was browsing my book shelves at home and wondering what kind of books other writers keep around.

Writers are different readers from normal (i.e., sane) people. We not only write for a living, we read for a living as well. We have to read other writers in our own genre to see what the competition is doing (and learn from them). We read for research, so we don’t make big mistakes like saying Paris is the capital of Great Britain. And we read to improve our craft.

I write thrillers and mysteries. When it comes to writing about crime, I benefit from a life in which I have worked as a police reporter for a daily newspaper, and been involved in law enforcement operations as a U.S. Coastguardsman, a military policeman, and a sheriff’s reservist. Heck, I was even trained as a SWAT medic. 

As a result, my bookshelves are filled with books and manual acquired from attending various law enforcement training programs. Yet I still have a number of books that were written about law enforcement specifically for writers. Among these are Anne Wingate’s Scene of the Crime: A Writer’s Guide to Crime Scene Investigation, Keith D. Wilson’s Cause of Death: A Writer’s Guide to Death, Murder, and Forensic Medicine, and the Mystery Writers of America’s Mystery Writer’s Handbook.

Over the years, I’ve written many articles for magazines and websites on military history. As a result, my bookshelves are crammed with history books on everything from the Napoleonic Wars to the latest conflicts. While these were collected to support my nonfiction writing, they still come in useful for my fiction work.

For instance, when I was writing my military mystery thriller, The Killing Depths, I needed to learn as much as I could about submarines and submarine warfare. Fortunately, I already had several books about submarines, though I ended up buying and reading several more. My history collection also was helpful in writing my noir mystery, Empty Places, which takes place in the mid-1980s and tangentially involves the U.S. involvement in proxy wars in Central America. 

My latest book was a step outside the normal lane of thrillers. Eden: A Sci-Fi Novella invokes a great deal of history and religious symbolism. In writing it, I found Carl Jung’s Man and His Symbolsextremely helpful. Eden describes an alternative history of the rise of mankind.

The narrator is an U.S. Army captain named Adam Cadman, which is an alternate spelling for Adam Kadmon. In the religious writings of Kabbalah, Adam Kadmon is the original or “primordial” man, and that theme runs through the entire book. It was reading Jung’s book that gave me the idea for Captain Adam Cadman, and I have turned to the book again and again for inspiration for other writing projects. 

Like most authors, I have a number of books on writing. One of my favorites is David Morrell’s The Successful Novelist: A Lifetime of Lessons about Writing and Publishing. Morrell, who created the character Rambo in his novel First Blood, is considered by many to be the father of the modern thriller. In Successful Novelist, Morrell uses his own writing career to illustrate the do’s and don’ts of novel writing and publishing.

Others books that have had an impact on my writing include Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within, and James N. Frey’s How to Write a Damn Good Novel, II: Advanced Techniques for Dramatic Storytelling.

As all good writers should, I always have a collection of dictionaries and thesauri. One unusual thesaurus I’ve found very helpful in my writing is The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. When I get stuck on how to describe a character’s reaction to a situation, this book can usually help me get unstuck.

As an independent author, I’m not only the writer of my books; I’m their public relations and marketing director as well. One of the first books I picked up for this was Shelley Hitz’s Marketing Your Book on Amazon: 21 Things You Can Easily Do For Free to Get More Exposure and Sales, which I found extremely helpful.

Fellow indie author Jay Allan Storey, author of futuristic dystopian novel, Eldorado, recommended to me Tom Corson-Knowles’ book The Amazon Analytics Bible: How To Use Analytics To Sell More Books On Amazon And Make Better Marketing Decisions, which I also found immensely helpful. Another writing colleague, Seumas Gallacher, author of the the Jack Calder series of thrillers, wrote the very informative and frequently hilarious, Self-Publishing Steps To Successful Sales

Perhaps you have certain books you turn to for help on your research, writing, or marketing. So I ask you, “What’s on your bookshelf?”

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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UK: http://amzn.to/Qq2c3y

US: http://amzn.to/1lt6bcv

Aus : amzn.to/1DSbNFN

Can   : amzn.to/1GYAyAV

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…ready, steady, rage…

…there are wheel biters and road racers… F1 aficionados and stock car racing enthusiasts… folks whose day brightens up by the sound of an engine revving… I’m not one of them… indeed, as far back as more than forty years ago I successfully failed my sole attempt at an official DRIVING TEST in the UK… there was also a highly unflattering ‘incident’ of which I hasten to say I’m not proud, when yours truly, in possession of a Provisional Driving License (for learners, of course) was involved in one of the original ‘road rage’ episodes versus some other driver who unwittingly took his life in his hands by doing sum’thing rather stupid to me in the car I was then driving…

carr

…the resultant metallic confrontation and ‘causing of supreme prejudicial assault on the other driver’s vehicle’ ended with a less than spiritually-uplifting court appearance and the recommendation from the magistrate that Master Gallacher should consider ‘never getting behind the wheel of a car again’, a view to which Master Gallacher fully subscribed… I was reminded of this earlier today when I was asked to be featured in a local publication’s piece on ‘what wheels I prefer and why’… my response mentioned NUTHIN about the road rage’ contrepemps, but I felt obliged to repeat my dear Mama’s view that her favourite son was born to ’travel in the rear of limousines, the front of civil aircraft, and to ’test-drive’ five-star hotels and bordellos, and not necessarily in that order’.. over the past several decades, I’ve endeavoured to keep assiduously to dear Mama’s guidelines… therefore, to satisfy the request from the local publication’ s editor, and not to deviate from Mama’s ethos, as a back-seat driver only, my choice of wheels, unsurprisingly, is a 1930s version of the Rolls Royce

rolls royce

…the attached photograph captures perfectly the elegance and élan of a sophisticated back-seat driver… special seating to be reserved for any and all Mama persons who align with this road travel philosophy… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…I can speak latin… err, no… latte… I meant latte…

…my predominant linguistic skills are in the area of talking Rubbish… added to that is a passing acquaintance with English, Celtic (Scots Gaelic), French (Glasgow Secondary School and London City International Foreign Exchange Dealing Room levels), Cantonese (Hong Kong Chinese), Tagalog (mainstream Filipino), and, of late, a smattering of localised Arabic… (a salaam a leikum, Jimmy)… I’ve been taken recently with a phrase initially attributed to that Roman guy who invented  the Salad called after him… Veni, Vidi, Bloggicci… in translation it means, I Veni-ied, I Vidi-ied, I Bloggicci-ied… if I had known way back when I began to do these blogs that the source would turn out to be a Roman general whose pals used his ribs as a dagger-sharpener, it may well have taken a different tone… to observe the ancient way of doing politics, where everybody stabs everybody else in the back, unlike the modern… oh, hang on a minute… let’s look at it from another direction… that such a venerated language as Latin should lend its name to a barista’s favourite product, Latte, just blows the mind, doesn’t it?… how far seeing they must have been in Mark Anthony‘s day… with the vision of Starbucksium ROOLING the WURLD

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…betcha that wee Liz Taylor lassie and young Dickie Burton never imagined they would be the forerunner role models for a coffee empire… their imperial centurions and plunderers of Britain all these millennia ago met their match when they encountered the hordes North of Watford Gap… the Scots required Hadrian’s Wall to stop them coming over the border and nicking the latte and croissant plates from the toga-touters… so the Celts up there merely generated their own stuff… hence the birth of Mcdonald’s

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…the Campbells were not allowed into the franchise after a wee bit of a misunderstanding about some Massacre in Glencoe… apparently they had failed to Deep Fry the Mars Bars… so there yeez go, a brief history of how Starbucks and McDonald’s were born… ye’re welcome… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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Guest Post by Seumas Gallacher ~~ Why Author Seumas Gallacher has a blog….

Seumas Gallacher:

…many thanks to the gracious Jackie Phillips for allowing me air time on her blog … mwaah :)

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

Originally posted on To Breathe is to Write:

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I ‘met’ Seumas in Blogville several months ago. He’s a delightful man with a great sense of humor.

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He is also the author of several crime-thriller books that are hugely popular. Seumas is very helpful to other authors and want-to-be authors, if you have questions,  he’ll most likely have an answer.

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Please, make welcome my new bloggy friend Seumas Gallacher.

why this ol’ Jurassic Scots Scribbler has a Blog…

…one of the perennial ‘chestnuts’ asked by newbie Authors, is whether or not they should maintain a Blog… in my not-so-’umble opinion I think it’s paramount for any writer in the modern publishing age to have his/her own Blog… producing yer literary masterpieces is one thing… but it’s only a part of yer ‘business of writing’… presence on the SOSYAL NETWURKS helps in the thrust to ‘build the platform’ of followers, and broadens readership…

in any business, good, strong…

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…do not go gentle into that good Internet…

aunty acid

…if there’s one thing yeez get to know the older yeez get… is that yeez know comparatively little… no one mind or brain holds all the intelligence and learning that civilisation has generated since time began… and the earlier this ol’ Jurassic understood that, the easier it became to get comfortable about not being the fount of all knowledge… but it doesn’t mean I stop trying to learn… as a relative newcomer to this wunnerful scribbling gig seven years or so ago, the learning curve has been necessarily steep… makes me dizzy sum’times, truth be told… NUTHIN stays the same for long, and the WURLD of publishing has seen changes over the past ten or twenty years that would normally have taken a century or more… but I note many of our fellow Lads and Lassies in Blog Land reluctant to get immersed in the realities of modern day Authorship… each to his/her own, of course, but the evidence to my eyes is persuasive… the need to be present on the SOSYAL NETWURKS is even more demanding to be ‘heard’ above the literary market ‘noise’

net

…of course, just banging on about anything on the Web is kinda pointless… my approach is simple… I communicate as much as possible with people with like-minded writing interests… people with a sense of humour are also priceless… and I derive endless pleasure from supporting other quill-scrapers online… we all need our affirmations… our feathers stroked… the honest feedback from folks whose opinion yeez value… it’s all part and parcel of being ’aboard’… and there are still no free lunches…the cost of all of this is yer expended time, energy and focus… I regard it as the finest investment I’ve ever made… my acquired new creed is— ‘I write, I read, and I blog, therefore I am’… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…give yer soul a wee treat and watch this…

…the clip above has been doing the rounds again on Facebook, and I have to ‘fess up, it hits me right in the ‘feels’… there’s sum’thing uplifting about the whole ‘Zorba music’ thing… and I’m aware that the video was made a coupla years ago… but given the turbulence and relative hardship that many of the Greek populace has undergone in recent times, I find it a singularly positive watch… most of the man-in-the-street Greeks are not responsible for the economic mismanagement and political sleight-of-hand that has brought such despair to families all over that country… like many of yeez Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, I visited Greece many years ago, I danced Zorba’s dance and indulged the ouzo, and had a terrific time with the locals… I wish them well… enjoy the thing once more, and let yer spirit and soul soar as mine has done watching it…

zzz

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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…chocolate… the ultimate Author food… my name’s Seumas, and I’m a chocoholic…

…coming as I do from the Land that gave yeez Fried Mars Bars, it’s hardly a surprise to know that chocolate features large in my own diet…

mars

…like many of yeez Lads and Lassies chained as we are to the laptop on a regular basis, the cavalry arrives frequently with supplies of sustenance to keep the literary juices flowing… yeez can have yer wine— white, red, rose, or whatever… yeez may indulge chips, bonbons, and croissants… a few (and only a few, I understand) will nibble on healthy fruits, nuts and other such saintly fodder… these eating and drinking items are consumed at any and all hours of the day and night as yeez quill-scrapers tap away at yer tomes… but none of the prior menu items comes even close to chocolate…  it may take the guise of wee chunks broken from larger mother blocks… plain, milk, white, dark, pointy-Tobleroney-triangles, even if needs must, fruit and nut embedded as a passing nod to ‘health’…

toblerone

…choco-chip cookies, half-coated digestive biscuits, Jaffa Cakes (who cares if sumb’dy argues whether or not these are cakes or biscuits—there’s chocolate on them…get stuck in), wafers, fingers, eclairs, wrapped-in-foil, Quality-Street-in-big-coloured-tins, all part of the endless stream of Author-grub… but NUTHIN, except NUTHIN, surpasses the ultimate luxury, the pinnacle of chocolate-dom, the uncounterfeitable Tunnock’s Caramel Wafers

tunnocks

…apologies, after I typed that last wee bit I had to stand up and salute… yeez know how it is, right?… when all else fails, as Popeye would call for his spinach, as Bugs Bunny would indulge his carrots, as W.C.Fields would look to remove the cork from his lunch, then every sell-respecting scribbler in time of belly-filling need cries out to the Gods, ‘Bring Me Tunnocks Caramel Wafers, Or Bring Me Death’… I’m quite peckish now… must go and have a choccy snack… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

ALL MY BLOG POSTS ARE FREE TO SHARE OR RE-BLOG SHOULD YOU SO WISH—BE MY GUEST!

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